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Cinderella Pantomime – Great 3D Animation

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Cinderella Pantomime – Great 3D Animation

Painting Pixels is delighted to have worked with the (Worlds Biggest Panto) and helped in the creation of the latest stage version of Cinderella. Get a quick taste by watching the Cinderella showreel or continue reading down to get the full low-down!

https://youtu.be/AD6itL6p1oM

Continue reading the full case study below –

Cinderella 3D Title

As the company name suggest they put on pantos but not just any old panto, but the worlds biggest pantos. And it truly was a major show, with a cast of over 100 members including a large variety of highly entertaining content; from a gospel choir, Bollywood dancers, a circus act with the wheel of death and much more. That’s right all in Cinderella! The world pantomime ay!!

Cinderella Live Show

Also and not forgetting the stars of the show including Bradly Walsh, Paul O’ Grady and Dick and Dom. We really enjoyed working with them all. During rehearsals and the video shoot, they were all non-stop laugh out load funny and super professional with the task at hand. We were amazed at how quick they all got in to character and filled the boots of the characters they were playing.

Painting Pixels Cinderella Advert Shoot

So what did Painting Pixels do? Well we are a 3D animation studio so that’s probably an obvious question. But, along with the large cast, funny celebs and the variety of acts for the show, the pantomime featured a massive imax style cinema screen for projecting 3D stereoscopic content. And that’s were we come in!

Traditional stage shows have a number of curtains that change during scenes and acts in order to help the show change events and scenes but these can be limited due to a number of reasons including cost and space taken by the large curtains. The Worlds Biggest Pantomime did not have this issue as the large projected screen allowed for all backdrops to be digital.

Painting Pixels Photos of Cinderella Stage Screen

This all meant that it was possible to have large, epic and vibrant landscapes. Also it was possible to have different backdrops for every changing scene.

Best of all because all the scenes were created using 2D and 3D animation, it was possible to animate all the backdrops. So instead of having a static printed curtain, it was possible for the digital scenes to be animated; for example, the scene below; the trees gently sway in the wind, the clouds float by and the waterfall… well it falls!

Painting Pixels Cinderella Forest

Same again here…

Painting Pixels Hard Up Hall

And again!…

Painting Pixels Cinderella Courtyard
Painting Pixels Cinderella Script

We read through the script many, many times. It was a funny and entertaining script so was actually enjoyable reading it multiple times and you also pick up a lot of missed details after the 10th read! Anyhow from this script, we extracted out some outlying details including the character’s behaviours and location details.

The particular descriptions for scenes and character features were not laid out for us, which was actually great because it allowed for a far more flexible thinking and allowed us to play with details and have fun with the creative side.

So one of the first thing we did was conceptualise the characters. There were four main 3D animated characters. This included the animated stars; Dudley the Frog and Morris the Mouse and their co-stars including; Mr Scary Snake and Mr Always Angry Snowman.

We went through many doodles and sketches. Fortunately, due do now being as paperless as possible, even for sketching; we now solely use our trusted Wacom graphics table so we could doodle all day long without wasting paper. Below are a few examples for the 3D animated stars.

Painting Pixels Dudley Sketch
Painting Pixel Dudley Concept
Painting Pixels Morris Sketch
Painting Pixels Morris Concept

We went through and did the same with all the locations and created doodles and sketches for each environment. There were many locations within the pantomime; a fact that was taken to full advantage thanks to it being digital.

The locations and environment included – The Ballroom, Outside the Castle Gates, The Courtyard, Hard up Hall, The Circus, The Enchanted Forest Pathway, The Kitchen, The Road to Palace and the Parallel Walk. And finally and not forgetting the Snow ride.

This scene was created as a fast-paced ride that the audience would join in with and involved multiple locations along the ride. The major parts to the ride involved Icy Slopes, An Ice Forest, A Cave Tunnel, Lava Cave Dodge, A Crevasse Jump, and finally, a washed-out snowy barren land where the snow fight takes place.

Painting Pixels Castle Door
Painting Pixels Hard Up Hall Sketch
Painting Pixels Cinderella Forest
Painting Pixels Cinderella NorthPole

One thing to point out; and one thing that we take pride in doing was to not just create random and separate locations, scenes and environments. Instead, we created a world.

A world where everything is linked, a world where there’s the logic in how characters would get from destination to destination. This meant that both the real world characters and CGI characters could not randomly get from say; the ballroom to the mansion kitchen.

There had to be roads and paths and logic and destination points. So for the above example of the ballroom to mansion kitchen, the characters would have to first exit the ballroom, go through the courtyard, out to the front of the castle, through the path from the castle to the enchanted forest, run from the enchanted forest through the parallel forest to the front of the mansion and then finally into the mansion kitchen.

This helped to keep logic and order and allowed for a more realistic world without cuts and jumps which meant that the audience could better follow the story without wondering how the hell they went magically from one place to the other!

Although it could have actually and simply been magic and all this logic was pointless. But we created a world nonetheless and both the director and assistant director loved it and actually labelled the world; Painting Pixels land which we were delighted by!

Painting Pixels Cinderella World Map

With an idea in our minds of how the characters and environments looked, we then revisited the script once more and started on creating a visual storyboard. It was this storyboard that would help guide us through the rest of the production. There turned out to be more scenes and stuff happening then we had anticipated from reading the script alone. Take a look below at how many slides there are.

Painting Pixels Cinderella Storyboard

One of the toughest and biggest challenges that we came across was with reminding ourselves that this was both a live action and CGI production taking place simultaneously. Many times during the creation of the visual storyboards we would sit back and say to ourselves ‘hang on this doesn’t flow, there’s a massive chuck missing in the animation’ Thinking that we had done something wrong.

Whereas in actual fact every time where the animation takes a sudden stop and jumps to a completely different scene, its because a whole bunch of live action amazingness is happening on-stage, seamlessly linking one CGI scene to the next!

Painting Pixels Live Action Cinderella

3D Modelling

Once the visual story, the characters and environments were approved and signed off we then made a start on the modelling. Everything happens in sequence and so the full modelling stage for both characters, environments and assets took place at once.

Painting Pixels Cinderella Dudley 3D Modelling
Painting Pixels Cinderella Dudley 3D Wireframe

In most GCI 3D animation projects, whether they are small web videos, or TV productions or even for Cinema; a lot of 3D modelling work can be saved and filled in by fancy post-production effects like scene assets, smoke, water, clouds etc. all this can sit behind or in front of the actual 3D models and looks fine.

In our chase, this was not possible. The whole production from start to finish was created in not just 3D but 3D stereo.

This meant that it was possible for the audience to wear 3D glasses, which enabled them to enjoy the work in a more immersive way, as content would literally float off the 2D screen and been seen in front of their eyes. So in order for this effect to work you need to have layered depth in your scenes.

This meant that it was not possible to simply add in effects or items as a 2D layer into the scene and backdrop. We would need to physically model everything in 3D and position it to real-world values to give it depth.

3D modelling for the characters, environments and assets all starts with a 3D virtual cube that we create and then mould that like clay into any object and item as desired.

As mentioned we could not take any many industry time saving short cuts by using most and so created many many objects and assets all the way from the larger more obvious 3D characters to the finer and smaller objects including plants and screws and pots and pans etc

This also included creating a full set of phonemes for the 3D characters which will later allow them to speak and create facial expressions.

After completing each 3D model we then immediately take it to the next step in the pipeline which includes the texturing. We had to painstakingly texture each and every item. There are multiple methods of texturing that we used, including UV mapping for complex and detailed models and the quicker but just as effective; multi-layer procedural effects.

Painting Pixels Dudley Render

3D Character Rigging

After the modelling and texturing stages its then the rigging stage. Rigging involves setting up a skeleton or nodes for a character or object to give artists the ability to manipulate and move it. With traditional clay-based stop motion animation; it would be necessary to move and manipulate the physical model to get the animation.

So artists would take a picture and then remodel the object slightly and then take another picture until they built up a sequence that when played back at a certain number of frames; say 25 frames per second, for example, it would look like the clay model is animated.

However, ours is digital and even though it requires moving and manipulation for the animation to work. We don’t need to make a movement every frame and also have a skeleton structure within our 3D character models, which allows us to create movement and animation without disturbing or modifying the actual physical 3D model.

Painting Pixels Dudley 3D Model

Layout and Animation for 3D Stereoscopic

The next step in the pipeline was to layout all the environmental scenes. This required bringing in all the 3d models including all props, assets and 3d characters into the scene or virtual world environment ready to organise and layout.

We set up our shot with a virtual camera and lay the scene out so that it looks best for that shot. However, and once again we were challenged with the fact that it was a 3D stereo animation so we had to be careful and balance the scene so that both the scene and shot looked good and also had an effective 3D stereo effect. It was super important not to clip certain 3D objects as clipping would result in loss of the 3D stereo depth.

Painting Pixels 3D Cinderella Layout Courtyard

Additionally, and because 3D stereo is not true real world 3D, but instead a trick of the eye and mind we had to make sure that we used multiple layers with real world distances for depth to give the required and proper 3D effects.

For example, even when a 3D background is set up with a 3D stereo camera, it still wont look 3D no matter how much depth you apply to the camera settings. The trick is to add many layers of items and objects in the background layer, the middle ground layer and the foreground layer in order for your eyes to distinguish and see a change in depth and give the false 3D effect and create 3D a stereo effect.

Painting Pixels Anaglyph glasses
Painting Pixels polarised glasses

So when animating characters or creating transitions or moving objects around the scene it was necessary to make sure that we kept multiple layers of depth and never clipped off the screen otherwise it would lose the effect.

Painting Pixels 3D Cinderella Layout Hearts
Painting Pixels 3D Cinderella Layout Clocks
Painting Pixels 3D Cinderella Layout Wand

3D Lighting

When laying out a scene we tend to do simple lighting so that we can see the assets within the environment so that we can actually grab handles and animate. However, we leave true lighting till the end so that we can see how the scene lays out and how the animation plays out and then bring in the full and final lighting. At this stage we also apply any additional textures and adjust texture levels. We tend to do this on a case by case basis as the levels in textures will vary depending on the brightness of the scene.

Painting Pixels Cinderella Kitchen Layout
Painting Pixels Cinderella Kitchen Render

3D Rendering

One of the most time-consuming parts was the rendering process. Our render times varied from scene to scene depending on the complexity of the scene and the number of polygons and effects added to each scene. Some simple scenes rendered out within a minute or two but others took up to an hour. And these values were not per scene.

They were per frame; so imaging an hour per frame and each second of animation runs at 25 frames per second and we had 10’s of minutes’ work of animation. So you can see that it takes ages and a heck of a lot of computing power.

And the fact that the whole animation was 3D Stereo meant that we needed to cater for twice the mounts of renders per second of animation because we needed to render out both a left eye and a right eye for everything. So imagine a 30-second scene that takes 1 hour per frame – 1hr X 25f X 30s X 2 for left and right.

That scene took – 1500 hours or 62.5 non-stop rendering days for just that single 30-second scene. (Crazy right?) We, fortunately, have many multi-processor workstations within the studio and have access to a massive render farm so in the end, it wasn’t that dramatic. But if we didn’t we would still be rendering.

Painting Pixels Cinderella 3D Snowman

Post Production

Once we got all the renders back and all the finished 3D scenes we took it in to our post-production software and applied any final edits and effects where possible and needed. We then took those composited shots into our editing suit and created final cuts and edits and then finally had the slow and painstaking task of rendering out all the shots individually and for both left and right eye to plug in to the stereo projectors.

Painting Pixels Paul O Grady After Effects
Painting Pixels Kitchen After Effects

It was great to go see the final live show and see how our hard work and all the 3D content sat inline with the real world stage and actors. It was a joy to see all the audience reacting to the stereo content and gasps of fear as they jumped over a artic ice crevasse and to see the energy as they dodged the snowballs flying towards there face and of course to see the joy and smiles when they first meet Dudley and Morris and their enjoyment throughout.

Painting Pixels Cinderella Panorama
Painting Pixels Cinderella Crowd
Painting Pixels Cinderella Stage

We hope you enjoyed reading about our journey into creating the 3D stereoscopic animation Cinderella project. Read more about The World’s Biggest Panto! here. If you have a project of your own that requires the same level of high-quality animation and attention to detail along with a lot of love and care then call us today on 01473 857860. Or check out our 3D animation service to see even more projects like this one!

Thanks for reading.

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    We are extremely happy with the excellent animation that the team at Painting Pixels have created for EPBA – European Portable Battery Association. They worked with us every step of the way from providing guidance to the script writing to the final production. We will be using Painting Pixels for future projects and highly recommend them.”

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    ‘Working with the team at Painting Pixels was a very pleasant experience. They are very talented in their trade and helped guide us through the full animated production process. We worked with them from start to finish from the very first draft script, all the way through full animated production and to the final output. They were very flexible with our changes and patient for feedback. They delivered the project to the promised time and budget. We would happily use Painting Pixels again and would also highly recommend them to anyone wishing to showcase any product, service or idea”

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    I am really delighted to have discovered Painting Pixels. I did ponder as to what service I could expect having noted that your company seemed to be the only one offering such services within the Ipswich area. I cannot advise enough on how pleased and impressed I was with the service and end-product of which you provided. You have created a stunning, fun and engaging animation for us to throw out on the internet to help promote our services, and allowing us to engage better with our desired market and proving our understanding into the industry we work. Your creative thinking inside and outside the box has taken a subject matter that isn’t really associated with Jun and colour, to something that is interesting and exciting to watch and learn about. Based on how this animation has turned out, we will be creating more additional detailed animations based on particular segments and will definitely be using Painting Pixels again. I’m really happy with the result and would recommend using Painting Pixels for everything creative!

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    I needed a logo created for my new company. I didn’t want just any old bog standard 2D logo from your everyday graphic designers. I needed a premium 3D logo, which had great detail and depth. I contacted Painting Pixels as I could tell they are experts in 3D. It was coming to the Christmas break and wanted to get the logo complete. They managed to fit my logo in to their schedule and even came back into the studio on Christmas eve to make some final adjustments. They created a fantastic looking 3D logo, which I can now use everywhere and it has the potential to be animated in the future. They went above and beyond and I’m extremely happy with the service and final product.

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    We’ve been working with Painting Pixels for many years now and they are our go to place for all things design and animation. We use them all the time for their expertise in 3D animation and motion graphics. If you need any kind of high quality design and animation give Painting Pixels a call; we did and never looked back.

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    Wow what a find Panting Pixels where! They helped us put on the World’s Biggest Panto; with eye popping 3D Stereoscopic graphics. They were an exciting and creative bunch to work with and went above and beyond to deliver us additional content at the highest quality. The show was a success and we will be using them for all future shows.

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    Painting Pixels developed our full branding package, which consisted of a new bespoke logo, responsive website and everything else in between including, letterheads, compliment slips, business cards and advertising leaflets. The designs where fresh and modern and gave us the appeal that we were going for. They listened to our requirements and delivered a high quality end product. We would recommend every time.

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    3D Explainer Animation for Trade Show

    Fantastic service and communication! We wanted to exhibit our SEO services at a large internet convention. However due to our line of work, we didn’t have many images or graphics, which would help attract attention from the passerby. We wanted a way to demonstrate our services which mainly deals with statistics, web rankings and PPC and wanted a way to show off these services in a more visual manner. We heard about the quality work that Painting Pixels does so gave them a call. They came to our studio and brainstormed some great ideas with us. They created a fantastic 3d mascot and a whole new world and a completely new way of presenting a data driven service. We are delighted with the end result and we are also very much impressed with the level of communication that we received throughout the entire process. This is a completely different style of marketing for us; but because of the high level of communication and service; we felt very well looked after. We would highly recommend.

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    I have referred a number of clients to Painting Pixels and they have always delivered great work, on time and within budget. It is refreshing to have such a good team on hand to help those clients who need 3D animations as part of their marketing or promotional campaigns.

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    Brilliant work under a tight deadline! I am very happy with the work done by Painting Pixels. I needed to have a web presence immediately as I would have an article which was to be published and released the following day. It was late in the evening and I really needed to have a website so that people could find my contact details online. I called Painting Pixels and they promised to put up a splash page which would contain all the necessary contact details. After a quick meeting they created a splash page which was ready for me in a matter of hours. The Splash page looked great and was online straight away. I am very happy with how they helped out in this very tight deadline and delivered what I needed with great speed, efficiency and service.

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    Would Recommend Every time! I wanted a fantastic looking set logos which would both be corporate and not too corporate at the same time. Also I needed the logos to help bring all the different business services together but still make them look like they are full professional separate services but under the same company for better service and convenience. Painting pixels created a unique set of logos which looked professional and separated the business service cleverly by using different colours and a graphic feature. I am very happy with the result and out of the box thinking and would recommend them every time.

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    Fantastic Technology and Vision! We are a company which uses that latest in modern technology and design to create our extraordinary super cars. We needed a way to demonstrate particular features and to demonstrate also how specific features like the unique door system would open. Originally we were going to go for a standard 3D animation as we did not know about the 4d technology. We searched around for many different 3d design companies and Painting Pixels quality of work caught our eye. After a detailed meeting we were delighted to learn that they can offer exactly what we actually wanted which was indeed 4D animation. They created an Application for us which allowed us to rotate our new super car with the mouse which meant that we could precisely see how the car looks from every angle. Also the 4D allows us to zoom in and see how the more intricate design features worked. We are delight to have met with Painting Pixels as they had the vision to see beyond what we asked for and offered us a better solution to our problem and so gave us exactly what we wanted. This was a fantastic use of technology and Painting Pixels did a fantastic job.

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    Fantastic turnaround times! We needed a handful of online advertising banners at various pixel resolutions and needed them to be done quick. After a quick phone call; Painting Pixels created many different and original designs for us. The whole process was very fast; to my delight. So very happy with the all the designs, speed and service.

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    Thanks for your continued Support! We have been working with Painting Pixels for many years now. We first came in contact with them when we needed to update our website. They created a hand crafted bespoke website for us and the unique look and design appealed well to our services and worked well with the head office guidelines. We did not have a large budget however Painting Pixels offered us this full and bespoke site at discounted rate as a charitable gesture. We are delighted with the website and appreciate the great value. Painting Pixels continues to support us and maintains the domain and also hosts the website free of charge. Good honest company, we would definitely recommend them.

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    Great Design work! We needed to have our e-commerce website redesigned. We didn’t want to use a common web development company as they tend to have a specific design style. So after a quick search we found Painting Pixels. Their work and range of skills looked very impressive. They created a very attractive design template that wrapped to the design structure of our site. The design appealed well to our customer base and looks bright, clean and colourful. It is both attractive and easy to navigate and so our website continues to function fantastically but also looks good. The re- design was created very quick and the whole integration and service as a whole was very efficient and so I am very pleased with how the project turned out. We will be using them again.

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    Quality and great value for money! We wanted to have our logo recreated in hi-resolution, having looked at painting pixels website they looked like they had the right skills to deliver the logo with great quality and speed. We were not left disappointed. They done a great job in matching accurately to the original fonts and recreated the logo perfectly. If any new projects come up we will use them again.

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    Brilliant! I needed to demonstrate a concept that I had to add to my book. I created a rough black and white hand drawn sketch but needed it to be created in to a professional illustration. Painting Pixels understood the concept clearly and produced a fine illustration, which perfectly demonstrates my concept. It’s a complicated concept and so I am delighted that they understood it so well and recreated it with fantastic quality, brilliant.

    Taghreed

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    Complete Dedication! We needed a new website for our Ipswich market and so approached Painting Pixels. We had seen their previous work and were very impressed. We did not have the biggest of budgets and so were unsure of the quality of website that we would get. Painting Pixels were very friendly and assured us that they would give us nothing less than a quality site and they were right. The website that we got is way better than we thought. The way it both looks and functions is perfect. We were constantly updated with the progress and knew that they were completely dedicated to producing a site that we would love. I would recommend them every time.

    Wayne

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    Superb Demonstration Animation! Industrial cleaning is never going to be the most exciting subject but with a minimal number of drawings and technical information Painting Pixels have helped us to explain our cleaning technologies via animation to clients from across the world including companies like Shell, BP and ExxonMobil. Painting Pixels were able to ‘get inside our heads’ , take our ideas and produce very high quality animations. Their customer service and communication were also great. Would highly recommend and happy to provide references.

    Managing Director / Tube Tech International

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    Quality 3D Design service! The animation is great we love the detail in all the 3d assets. It really clearly helps us to demonstrate our industrial cleaning process. The quality of the animation is really good and complimented by a brilliant service. It’s obvious that you have given 110% It’s amazing how effectively you can work with minimal  drawings and technical information. Again a great quality piece of work and great service, we will be using you again.

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    Thanks for helping us out! We really appreciate your help in taking on the design work for this campaign. We love the design and have had great compliments from everyone who has seen it. It’s really eye catching and people are taking notice of the campaign. Thanks again for helping us out.

    Ahad

    Logo Design – Your First Motor

    First Class Job! We needed a cool new logo but didn’t really know what we wanted. We looked around at many different design companies and their portfolio and range of work was very uninspired. We came across Painting Pixels and loved their work and range of design disciplines. We did not give them a design brief but instead just explained what the company does, the whole process was very quick and hassle free. They came up with this eye catching and memorable logo which we love. We are very happy with the speed and quality and would highly recommend.

    Jamie

    3D Dredging animation

    Way better than we had imagined! We needed a 3D animation which would clearly demonstrate a unique dredging process and wanted to showcase this at an exhibition. We called Painting Pixels to help make our animation. We did not at first realise that their offices were based three hours drive away, however we had no problems with dealing with a company that was not local to us. They were very flexible in meeting our requirements and clear in their approach. They constantly updated us on every stage of the process and the end product was way better than we had imagined. We had many comments at the exhibition regarding the quality of the animation and so we are very happy to have worked with Painting Pixels and will most definitely be using them again.

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    3D Industrial Animation

    With a very tight budget Painting Pixels were able to produce a top quality 3D animation in a short timeframe. Very pleased with the outcome and the interaction with Painting Pixels personnel. Will return to them without hesitation for our next project.

    Marketing Manager / Tube Tech International

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    They gave more than expected! I have to say, I am very pleased with the outcome of this project. I’m no expert in the field of 3D animation but I knew that the budget that I had for this project was not very big. However Painting Pixels were very kind to take on the project and I am so impressed and absolutely blown away by the quality and effort that they have put in. I will be using them again and recommend them to everyone.

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